Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Paul, an aspiring 2016 Republican presidential candidate, said, "To interventionists like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, we would caution that arming the Islamic rebels in Syria created a haven for the Islamic State, We are lucky Mrs. Clinton didn't get her way and the Obama administration did not bring about regime change in Syria. That new regime might well be (Islamic State)."
A policy under consideration during Clinton's tenure, to persuade Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to resign, included U.S. arming of the more moderate opposition groups fighting him. A prevailing point against the plan was the possibility the arms would end up in hands hostile to U.S. interests in the region.
Those who advocated regime change in Syria lacked "a reasonable degree of foresight," Paul wrote, accusing Clinton of being eager to "shoot first in Syria before asking some important questions."
In an interview with The Atlantic, Clinton, a possible Democratic presidential candidate, argued a failure to arm Syrian opposition "left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled" with the rise of IS.
The Democratic National Committee referred Thursday to Paul's "reckless ideas" in a statement, adding, "Simply put, if Rand Paul had a foreign policy slogan, it would be -- The Rand Paul Doctrine: Blame America. Retreat from the World."